Summary: The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks

Words: 1015
Pages: 5

Rebecca Skloot’s novel, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks illustrates the delicate balance of the innovative progression of science and society versus the consequences of those who stumble from this progress. This book centrally focuses on the Henrietta Lacks whose biological samples extracted during cancer treatment and in an autopsy after her subsequent death, with no consent at John Hopkins University Hospital that leads to their discovery of HeLa immortal cells. (“The Birth of HeLa Cells” Skloot. 2010. Kindle eBook Edition) This vital discovery leads to the vaccine to eliminate polio and the mass production of HeLa cells that yielded millions of dollars in the medical industry in the creation of pharmaceuticals (“The HeLa Factory” Skloot. 2010. Kindle eBook edition)
Henrietta Lacks’ family, however, remains ignorant of HeLa cells until long after her death in 1951 and still are without compensation. (“Its Alive” and “ Turner Station” Skloot. 2010. Kindle eBook Edition) These series of events set a precedence for
…show more content…
The struggle of personal rights and population rights is seen within the novel but first the fundamental understanding of Ethics is needed to grasp how monumental Henrietta’s story within Skloot’s book presents this debate.Especially relevant to the terms autonomy and beneficence. According to the University Of California School of Medicine, Autonomy is “ Autonomy is the “personal rule of the self that is free from both controlling interferences by others and from personal limitations that prevent meaningful choice.” Autonomous individuals act intentionally, with understanding, and without controlling influences.” (Pantilat. 2008. Fast Facts Autonomy vs. Beneficence. University of California School of Medicine) Whereas, with beneficence its specific actions that are for the benefit of